You’d have to be mad to buy a car that’s logged the equivalent miles for a journey to the moon, or would you?
John Evans
21 April 2019

Generally speaking, a spaceship destined for the moon is a tiny capsule stuck on the end of a huge, pointy rocket somewhere in sunny Florida. But the spaceship we’re looking at is a family hatchback at a used car dealer in West Drayton, off the M4. 

In fact, it’s a 10-year-old Ford Mondeo 2.3 Ghia X auto that has done 293,000 miles, or a bit more than a spacecraft does on its way to the moon. It’s for sale at Trade Price Motors, a large used car lot at the end of an industrial estate. 

Be honest – would you buy such a motor? For most of us, 60,000 miles is the cut-off. Any higher and we start to worry about component life and reselling the thing. The idea of buying one that’s done 100,000 is a stretch, but one with 293,000 miles? Pigs might fly – to the moon. 

“Sixty thousand miles is most car buyers’ first sticking point,” agrees Mark Bulmer, senior valuations editor at Cap HPI. “Then it’s 100,000, but anything over 150,000 miles and condition is everything, to the extent that the price difference between a car with 200,000 miles and another with 300,000 is negligible. 

“This is because modern cars can take high mileage. In fact, doing lots of miles is better for a car than doing too few when the oil doesn’t get hot enough to circulate properly. Rust used to be the big killer, but now that car makers have fixed that problem, if a high-mileage car has been serviced regularly, it’ll be fine to buy.” 

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On the strength of TPM’s Mondeo space capsule, Bulmer may have a point. Incredibly, its slotted alloy wheels, shod with matching, premium Goodyear rubber, are pristine. Its paint is original and its body is free of dents and scratches. Inside, its cabin looks as if it’s been lifted from a 3000-mile car rather than one that has done 100 times that. The ‘walnut’ trim gleams and the black leather seats look as fresh as the day they were fitted. Only the part-wood and leather steering wheel looks faded and is beginning to peel. 

Time to fire it up. Being a Ghia X, the Mondeo has keyless ignition, so I press the start button. The 2.3-litre engine settles to a quiet tickover. During a rare break in the passing traffic, I pop open the bonnet to listen more closely, expecting to hear the shuffle-shuffle of the auxiliary belt as, for the umpteenth time, it follows its tortuous path. Nothing – not even a squeak. The engine is dry but not corroded. The battery terminals have fresh grease on them. 

It’s disappointing to see there are only nine stamps in the book (all Ford main dealer), but because service histories can get a little hazy at spaceship mileages, I’m willing to believe it’s an incomplete record. 

It’s got to be worth a run up the road. I select Drive and squeeze the throttle. The big Mondeo rolls across TPM’s granite chippings and potholes incredibly smoothly. I expected to feel some looseness in the suspension and steering rack bushes, but everything feels tight. 

Out on the road, it picks up speed smoothly. The traffic clears, so I knock the gearshift into Sport and try a few downchanges. The transmission responds without fuss, although the petrol engine feels lethargic, as I’d expect with just 159bhp to give. My old 2007 Mondeo 2.0 diesel auto was much gutsier. 

The steering wheel is dead straight, the brakes pull up powerfully and the engine temperature is good. Back at Trade Price Motors, I check the dual zone climate control, tyre pressure monitoring system and parking sensors. They all work. 

Kashif ‘Sam’ Sheikh, the dealership’s general manager, rushes over for my verdict. As we coo over its condition, he says he’s putting up its price – from £1250 to £2495: “The boss was giving it away.” 

Bulmer isn’t surprised by the Mondeo’s condition. He says most Fords take high mileage exceptionally well. Not only those but Mercedes, Volvos and most Japanese and Korean cars also. Even, he says, old Land Rover Discoverys. He should know about those since he’s Cap HPI’s valuations expert on SUVs. One of his favourites is the Toyota Land Cruiser. 

“They just keep rolling,” he says. “Mileages over 100,000 are common. In fact, in the past week alone we’ve seen four with well over that figure.”

It gives me an idea… From West Drayton I nip part-way around the M25 to West Byfleet, to meet dealer Russell Baker of Baker Brothers. He’s selling something that I reckon Bulmer, a former Land Cruiser owner, would approve of. It’s a 2000 V-reg Colorado 3.0 TD – with 270,000 miles. “We’re big fans of high-mileage Land Cruisers,” says Baker. “They’re top value and take everything in their stride.” 

His Colorado has good provenance and a great service history. It had one lady owner from 2002 to 2017. She did 200,000 miles in it and had it serviced on the button by a main Toyota dealer. It’s in excellent condition, inside and out. The engine looks great. Its two batteries are still wrapped in their smart, black jackets. 

Baker himself runs around in a Mk5 Volkswagen Golf diesel that has done 288,000 miles. He bought it with 194,000. “It’s only had a new turbo and still does 60mpg on a good run,” he says, proudly. 

He also has a 2015 Volkswagen Amarok that’s done 150,000 and two 2016-reg VW mini buses, each with 260,000 miles. “Unfortunately, 100,000 miles is still a problem for many car buyers, but the fact is most cars will do 500,000 miles no problem. 

“Few owners and good service history are things to look for but condition is everything. If it looks good, it probably is.” 

High-mileage champion

It’s only four years old but we found a 2015/65 Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i X-Play that has done 260,000 miles with its one owner from new and has a full service history. “They were all motorway miles and it drives like new,” says the seller. The owner works in social services, and the car has spent its life shuttling people the length and breadth of the country. We arranged to view it, but during the intervening weekend it was sold for £3490.

Read more

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Driving a Lamborghini Murcielago with 258k miles on the clock​

James Ruppert: a cheap used car could go the distance, but should you?​

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Comments
18

21 April 2019

Wow, steller mileages and I thought my son's 09 twingo that I bought him with 120k miles was high, especially for a city car, my daughter's 04 fiesta was bought a few years earlier with 109k miles, both were cheap and crucially fully serviced and very clean and tidy and as such make great first cars.

Not sure how confident I would be in buying a modern diesel with these mileages, as I feel they're too complicated, that mondeos cosworth? Developed 2.3, if its the same as what I had in a 98 galaxy, is a great engine that revs really freely and sounds lovey right through its rev range without ever sounding strained, only had 143bhp in the galaxy.

21 April 2019
si73 wrote:

Not sure how confident I would be in buying a modern diesel with these mileages, as I feel they're too complicated, that mondeos cosworth? Developed 2.3, if its the same as what I had in a 98 galaxy, is a great engine that revs really freely and sounds lovey right through its rev range without ever sounding strained, only had 143bhp in the galaxy.

I ve had 5 common rail diesels - a 2000, a 2003, a 2004 and two 2008s all bought @95,000 miles plus on them, not had any problems. Would buy another with that sort of mileage.

XXXX just went POP.

21 April 2019
typos1 wrote:

si73 wrote:

Not sure how confident I would be in buying a modern diesel with these mileages, as I feel they're too complicated, that mondeos cosworth? Developed 2.3, if its the same as what I had in a 98 galaxy, is a great engine that revs really freely and sounds lovey right through its rev range without ever sounding strained, only had 143bhp in the galaxy.

I ve had 5 common rail diesels - a 2000, a 2003, a 2004 and two 2008s all bought @95,000 miles plus on them, not had any problems. Would buy another with that sort of mileage.

With the exception of the 2008 model aren't they all pre a lot of the complicated emissions control equipment that causes so many reliability issues? The 08 may well be as well, as such I too wouldn't be as concerned either, it is the modern diesels that worry me and to a similar extent the modern down sized turbo charged petrol, a small na petrol with low emissions wouldn't be of great concern to me with regard to low emission old cars, neither would a hybrid as they're proving very reliable.

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21 April 2019

With cars designed to be driven - low mileage is a much larger issue than high mileage!

Particularly true of diesels. Wouldn't touch a 10-year old vehicle fitted with a DPF that's done UNDER 120,000 miles with a bargepole! Doing a decent number of motorway miles to allow DPF purge is essential.

Also significant low mileage suggests excessive city driving, or even being a Taxi (the worst of all things).

.

With us all trying to save the planet, people need to get over a phobia of high mileages.

Buying a used car IS saving the planet after all, producing a car sends more than year of motoring's CO2 into the atmosphere.. even for electric vehicles.

21 April 2019
CarNut170 wrote:

Wouldn't touch a 10-year old vehicle fitted with a DPF that's done UNDER 120,000 miles with a bargepole!

With us all trying to save the planet, people need to get over a phobia of high mileages.

Buying a used car IS saving the planet after all, producing a car sends more than year of motoring's CO2 into the atmosphere.. even for electric vehicles.

Let's buy that Mondeo tand save the planet. A petrol 2.3 auto Mondeo of that vintage without it's complicated DPF put out 222g/km co2 (which means it costs £325 a year to tax). You'll also struggle to see 20mpg in real-world driving.  A modern 1.5 dirty diesel with it's complicated DPF produces 94g/km Co2 and should easily exceed 60mpg in real world. I'd have thought even David Attenborough would prefer the latter.

As for the Colorado! A non DPF 3.0TD produces nearly 300g/km CO2 (when new, what will it be like now?) and the owner can only dream of 20mpg - think more 15mpg. You'd need very deep pockets indeed to run the thing.

No thanks.

 

21 April 2019
scotty5 wrote:

Let's buy that Mondeo tand save the planet. A petrol 2.3 auto Mondeo of that vintage without it's complicated DPF put out 222g/km co2 (which means it costs £325 a year to tax). You'll also struggle to see 20mpg in real-world driving.  A modern 1.5 dirty diesel with it's complicated DPF produces 94g/km Co2 and should easily exceed 60mpg in real world. I'd have thought even David Attenborough would prefer the latter.

As for the Colorado! A non DPF 3.0TD produces nearly 300g/km CO2 (when new, what will it be like now?) and the owner can only dream of 20mpg - think more 15mpg. You'd need very deep pockets indeed to run the thing.

No thanks.

Its funny how opinion can get in the way of facts. For a start all new petrols have "complicated" particulate filters, yet you never complain about them, its only when theyre on diesels that you berate them. The fact is that running a car for as long as possible is far better for the environment than buying a new one - do you realise how many emissions manufacturing a car creates ? Obviously not. The idea that buying modern cars and scrapping old ones is better for the environment is totally unscientific nonsense, it may be good for the economy but it isnt for anything else.

XXXX just went POP.

21 April 2019
typos1 wrote:

scotty5 wrote:

Let's buy that Mondeo tand save the planet. A petrol 2.3 auto Mondeo of that vintage without it's complicated DPF put out 222g/km co2 (which means it costs £325 a year to tax). You'll also struggle to see 20mpg in real-world driving.  A modern 1.5 dirty diesel with it's complicated DPF produces 94g/km Co2 and should easily exceed 60mpg in real world. I'd have thought even David Attenborough would prefer the latter.

As for the Colorado! A non DPF 3.0TD produces nearly 300g/km CO2 (when new, what will it be like now?) and the owner can only dream of 20mpg - think more 15mpg. You'd need very deep pockets indeed to run the thing.

No thanks.

Its funny how opinion can get in the way of facts. For a start all new petrols have "complicated" particulate filters, yet you never complain about them, its only when theyre on diesels that you berate them. The fact is that running a car for as long as possible is far better for the environment than buying a new one - do you realise how many emissions manufacturing a car creates ? Obviously not. The idea that buying modern cars and scrapping old ones is better for the environment is totally unscientific nonsense, it may be good for the economy but it isnt for anything else.

Not all petrols have a GPF so you're factually wrong. And the ones that do aren't as complicated or expensive as DPF

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

21 April 2019

One of the most dependable and fun motors ever released to the english motoring public. Save for the Cortina and Capri. 

When ford of europe keeps the americans out of english engineering, they can actually produce quality motors. 

 

Blokes in a shed know best!

22 April 2019
Real_sluggo wrote:

One of the most dependable and fun motors ever released to the english motoring public. Save for the Cortina and Capri. 

When ford of europe keeps the americans out of english engineering, they can actually produce quality motors. 

First and only time i expect to see Mondeo and 'fun' in the same sentence. 

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